Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Manila Hotel’s Café Ilang-Ilang and The Champagne Room Reopens


The Manila Hotel’s dining outlets, the famed Café Ilang-Ilang and the iconic Champagne Room reopens soon after undergoing a few weeks of general maintenance. The hotel chose to suspend dining operations as the holiday festivities died down to ensure food quality and guest safety, as well as spot-checks on its facilities. 

Come visit Café Ilang-Ilang

Café Ilang-Ilang is scheduled to reopen on January 28, 2022 (Friday). The dining outlet enjoys a loyal following among local and foreign guests as it offers authentic international fare as well as family-friendly dining experience. It continues to draw diners with its daily offering of gastronomic delights coupled with the culinary team’s passion to create an amazing spread of dishes that is in keeping with its acclaimed status as one of the best buffet restaurants in the country. 

Diners can indulge in Café Ilang-Ilang’s wide range of food selections for lunch and dinner daily. This brings together Italian, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and even certified Halal dishes under one roof for an indulgent eat-all-you-can feast featuring crowd favorites like the US Beef Rib Roast; items from the Churrasco station like meats and salmon; seafood like prawns and crabs; a glorious spread of different sushi and sashimi; Filipino favorites like Lechon with truffle rice; Chinese highlights like duck and various dimsum; an array of desserts including bibingka, puto bumbong, and halo-halo; and many more. 

Fine dining at The Champagne Room

Meanwhile, Manila’s premier destination for exquisite fine dining will start accepting diners again on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. To date, The Champagne Room is a premier restaurant whose timeless beauty remains, coupled with fine dining of choices for discriminating diners who put a premium on impeccably prepared dishes, outstanding service, and luxurious ambiance.  The most romantic room in the country marks the return of its fine dining just in time for Valentine month.

The Champagne Room will welcome guests with an option for walk-in and reservations four days a week (Wednesday through Saturday), with select a la carte items and special multi-course degustation menus to choose from—conceived by the hotel’s Executive Chef to showcase what this dining outlet is all about. Think generous servings of Black Angus Tenderloin, US Prime Beef Rib, the Chilean Sea Bass, or the satisfying Seafood Medley; there are also choices of starters; and for dessert, don’t miss out on the indulgent sweet delight—its signature Baked Alaska.

Safety standards

Both The Manila Hotel premiere outlets elevate the dining experience: broadening our palate with flavors from global cultures and cuisine and applying elevated standards of safety that allow guests to dine comfortably and with peace of mind. 

Café Ilang-Ilang and The Champagne Room still implement physical distancing and reduced capacity measure that are compliant with the IATF and DOT guidelines for restaurants. 

For more information regarding reservation and dining rates, please call our hotline numbers at (02) 85270011 or 0998-9501912. You may also email; or check and book online for Café Ilang-Ilang via and The Champagne Room via

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Leveraging technology in bringing the future of healthcare to Filipinos

Lab@Home seeks to bring the power of technology to serve a growing demographic of patients who require at-home healthcare services, such as elderly adults

If there’s any silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has definitely accelerated the application of modern technology to meet the emerging need for at-home, on-demand medical diagnostics, since people have been mandated to shelter in place or are otherwise afraid to go out regardless as they might contract the deadly disease. 

This is an insight shared by Toshi Zialcita, operations head of Lab@Home, a start-up mobile diagnostics provider that launched just when the pandemic was declared by the second quarter of 2020. The company affirms that there has definitely been a surge in demand for home service lab tests since then. He clarifies though that plans to roll out Lab@Home had already been in place even before COVID-19 broke out. 

“The timing could be called fortuitous but we also see it as an affirmation of our foresight that on-demand diagnostics will be an important mode of delivering healthcare services in the future, especially in the Philippines and with its emerging demographics,” says Zialcita.

“We believe this is the future of healthcare and wellness in the Philippines as it is already happening in other parts of the world, and it was just a matter of time before mobile and on-demand medical diagnostics became the way to go here in the country,” adds Dr. Austin Gawaran, Lab@Home’s medical director. 

The particular demographic that Zialcita is referring to is an increasing population of elderly adults with difficulty going out of their residences for their personal needs. Their caregivers or guardians themselves—usually their children—are millennials who are digital natives and are used to the convenience of technology working for them to ease their busy daily schedules. 

Given these factors, the healthcare industry is ripe for on-demand diagnostics that cater to today’s modern, tech-driven lifestyle. This is the vision shared by Zialcita and Gawaran along with the rest of the company’s founders, who are established personalities in their own right in the global tech start-up community. 

Lab@Home chief executive Aaron Kemmer is an experienced tech investor who launched, among many projects, Made In Space—an endeavor for enabling “off-world manufacturing” and paving the way for successful human existence in other planets. Business strategy head John Kemmer similarly played a pivotal role in building tech start-ups such as Magic, an on-demand virtual personal assistant, and growing its scale exponentially.

In the Philippines, while this type of home service laboratory testing has been around for quite some time already, Lab@Home sets itself apart from other providers through a stronger, more convenient, technology-based system such as setting appointments online and through its own app. 

Lab@Home’s service is also uniquely designed to be more responsive and adaptive by partnering with several laboratories and diagnostics centers. This allows scheduling and servicing closer to each patient wherever they may be, and also offering a wider variety of tests that only specialized laboratories may be able to accomplish.

“Aside from the usual blood chemistry tests—CBC, electrolytes and creatinine— our platform also offers imaging such as x-ray and ultrasound, as well as ECG or heart monitoring, which we discovered is in huge demand by our customers,” says Gawaran. Of course, RT–PCR or the commonly known nasal or oral swab for COVID-19 continues to be in high demand. “For this service, turnaround time is critical and that’s what we always aim to deliver,” he says. 

Lab@Home is at work to continuously improve its operational platform and enhance its on-demand nature, as well as to expand its diagnostics offerings to include the latest in biomarker technology that can help detect critical illnesses such as cancer. For Aaron Kemmer, the future of healthcare lies in enabling a better quality of life for all, and it starts with a more proactive approach from each individual.

“Lab@Home came about with the dream of improving chances for a longer, happier and healthier life by providing easier access to personal health data. It is our mission to bring the benefits of modern healthcare technology to underserved Filipinos,” he says. 

Similarly, John Kemmer adds, “People unfortunately have surprisingly little info about their personal health. Lab@Home is set out to change that—making it easy and convenient to get your vital health data frequently, and to better manage your health with your healthcare provider or doctor.” 

Thanks to Lab@Home, the power of technology is now at the fingertips of Filipino patients and can help them achieve a better quality of life—bringing healthcare practices in the country up to par to world standards. 

“Healthcare is a universal need. However, in developing countries like the Philippines, the reality is still a lot of people do not have access to quality healthcare. Lab@Home seeks to be the answer—utilizing technology as the bridge to provide access to more patients. Lab@Home is here to disrupt diagnostics and provide safe, convenient and accurate lab tests from the comfort of your home,” concludes Gawaran.

Visit or call +63 917 886 HOME (4663)

Friday, January 21, 2022

Count your luck and celebrate Chinese New Year at SM Supermalls!

Good fortune awaits shoppers at SM Supermalls this Year of the Tiger

It’s going to be a prosperous 2022 as SM Supermalls celebrates the Year of the Tiger with fun-filled events and activities for its shoppers! Whether you choose to stay home or safely shop at SM Supermalls, there are exclusive CNY deals for everyone to enjoy!

Lucky Dining Deals. Kick off the festivities with an abundant gastronomic feast with discounts and promos from January 16 to February 2. Shoppers can enjoy Lucky Eats Deals of as much as a 22% discount from participating tenants. For your convenience, you can easily shop via the SM Malls Online app where you can arrange for delivery or pick-up, or by calling our SM Customer Care hotline at (02) 8876-111, 0917-876-111 or 0908-876-1111. You can also have your fill of your favorite food while safely dining at Chinese New Year-themed indoor and outdoor Lucky Eats Dining Spots.

Lucky Red Finds Bazaar. Boost your luck and find all the lucky red items from SM Supermalls’ partner tenants and affiliates in this Chinese New Year-themed pop-up market. 

Lucky Tiger Park. Families will be treated to a dazzling Chinese New Year experience featuring an outdoor set-up with lighted 3D tiger art installations, Chinese lanterns, and Drive-Thru Lion and Dragon Dances and Fireworks Displays to welcome the year of the Tiger!

Lucky Paws. Show off your pet’s best CNY-themed costume and get a chance to win pawsome prizes when you submit photos of your pets online or take them to select SM Supermalls Paw Parks.

Lucky Forecasts. When it comes to ushering in good fortune, SM Supermalls knows how to help prepare shoppers for the positive energy this new year brings. By scanning the QR codes, you can check out your 2022 Chinese zodiac brought to you by Feng Shui expert Ms. Marites Allen. Plus, you can also get a chance to win exciting prizes and SM vouchers!

Additionally, SM Supermalls has also prepared other activities and promos for everyone to enjoy until February:

  • Lucky Plants.  Attract good luck all year round with lucky plants in your home! This Chinese New Year-themed green market in select SM malls features floras that are considered lucky like the lucky bamboo, money tree, Jade plant, mandarin orange tree, orchid, bamboo, and bonsai.

  • Lucky Finds on SM Deals. Check out CNY exclusive offers from SM Supermalls’ tenant partners and affiliates from Buy 1 Get 1 deals and 50% discounts. 

  • Lucky22 vouchers. If you opt to stay at home during these festivities, don’t worry about missing out on these exciting deals because SM Supermalls has got you covered. SM Malls Online will be having Lucky22 vouchers– a special voucher offering a 22% discount on food and non-food items for stay-at-home shoppers like you!  

  • Lucky in Red Pick-up at Curbside Promo. When you pick up your order at SM via SM Customer Care Hotline, SM will be giving away Php 200 worth of SM GCs on February 1 for those decked in red! So wear something red or drive by to pick up the items you’ve ordered in your flashy red car! This promo is for the first 22 customers only, so be sure to get there as early as you can.

Enjoy all these and more when you celebrate your #LuckyDaysAtSM this Chinese New Year! So, increase your luck and safely celebrate with SM Supermalls as it welcomes the Year of the Tiger with wishes of prosperity, health, abundance, and continuous good fortune!

For #SafeMallingAtSM, you can follow @smsupermalls on all social media platforms.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Women of TONTA Club


Mataas na naman ang surge ng COVID-19 cases natin  nasa 39,004 na kahapon! Nakakatakot na ito ha? Hindi na maganda.

Pero ito naman ang surge na maganda at katatawanan habang staying safe with your family. Be fully-vaccinated with laughter and inspiration. Panoorin online ang pinakabagong comedy film na "The Women of TONTA Club" sa inyong mga bahay!

Bumili na kayo ng tickets sa &

Nood na because the family that laughs together, stays together. Or vice versa!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Vibal Group’s 2021 Year-End Roundup


“Life goes on” has been the theme of 2021, a year that began in hope and which Vibal is about to miraculously end on a high note. Despite the pandemic, Vibal Group, Inc. (VGI) continued to serve clients with amazing products and services. VGI launched several new titles and products and still provides quality webinars for its loyal viewers. Let’s have a rundown of VGI’s highlights this year.

A Year of Online Tertulia

Since December 2020, Vibal Foundation (VFI) has hosted a virtual tertulia where VFI honors the life of its matriarch, Mrs. Esther A. Vibal. The monthly tertulia features a wide range of songs, dance, and even theatrical performances.


The revival of e-Turo is a testament to VGI’s mission to help teachers in every way possible. The website offers webinars, online courses, and teaching materials that assist teachers not only in their teaching but also in their professional development.


VGI took another step in providing professional development for educators. VGI has been accredited by the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) to provide professional development for teachers and school leaders.

Online Shopping

The increase of the demand for Vibal books has increased. This year, VGI answered their customers’ calls and opened online shops in Shopee and Lazada. The Vibal online store has been active for years but with the addition of the Shopee and Lazada channels, avid Vibal readers may order their books through these platforms. Earlier this month, VGI had their first live selling of beloved titles. Due to the good response of viewers, VGI will schedule a second live selling session on Facebook soon.

TikTok Paaralan

After launching Podcast Paaralan in 2020, VGI took a step further and started its TikTok page where VGI can continue entertaining its viewers as well as educating them about a wide array of topics and issues.

VSmart Upgrades

VGI’s learning management system (LMS), VSmart, had some major updates. The addition of VSmart Analytics, VSmart Games, and VSmart Library shows how versatile the LMS is.

VSmart Quiz

The VSmart ecosystem continues to grow with new applications and products schools may use in teaching and learning. VSmart Quiz was introduced earlier this year to help students keep their mind sharp with different topics and subjects while having fun.

More Webinar Seasons

The online webinars of VGI continue to serve teachers on Facebook and YouTube. Webinar series such as Kasaysayan, Kaysaya, Speaker’s Demo Reel, and Teacher Vibal are now in their second season that focuses on a wide range of topics.

Book Launches

The pandemic did not hinder VGI and VFI from producing high-quality books. The launch of The Art of Window, Display, & Design, More Tomboy, More Bakla than We Admit, Sisa’s Vengeance, El Filibusterismo, Pugot, Philippine Cartography, 4th Edition, Old Jolo and Zamboanga, Imprenta de Ramirez y Giraudier, Philippine Genealogy and Art History: The Luciano Santiago Reader, and Boxer Codex, Second Edition shows how active VGI and VFI have been in releasing books for the mind and the eye. 

Success in the Time of  COVID

This year, VGI received recognition for different products. The Chikiting Book Sari was awarded as an Honorable Mention by the Mindanao and ASEAN Children’s Literary Festival. The Chikiting Book Palaruang Bahaghari was a finalist in the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Awards. The Guild of Educators, Mentors, and Students (GEMS) named VGI as the Best Publishing Company in the 5th GEMS Awards. VFI’s Philippine Cartography, 4th Edition won the 2020 Gintong Aklat Awards for Social Sciences. Another success not only for VGI but for all Philippine publishers was VFI’s Boxer Codex which claimed the number one spot in Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” under the Historical Study reference category.

VGI and VFI salute their authors, illustrators, the teams involved in publishing these titles, and the loyal readers who continue to support these books.

In 2022, VGI has a lot more in store for everyone. The possibilities are endless with VGI. Let us continue looking forward to the next year, the new now.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Pru Life UK teaches money lessons during pandemic

During this emotionally and financially exhausting time, financially preparing for anything that may happen is of utmost importance. As we continue to live through the pandemic, everyone should learn the value of saving and investing to cover future uncertainties.

While it is better for Filipinos to have certain layers of protection not only for themselves but for their families as well, having the knowledge about what they are availing or investing is equally important.


Products that offer protection and investment rolled into one are a great start among Filipinos wanting to have security amid these challenging times. Among the many reasons why these products are sought after even by the ordinary Juans is the security and growth it provides financially.


For people who want to invest but are concerned about having to deal with certain critical illnesses, products such as the PRUHealth Prime is perfect for them. It eases the financial burden of battling cancer with a 50% cash out upon diagnosis of pre-defined early stage cancer while giving its subscribers the ability to build a bigger health fund with its investment component.


The PRULink Elite Protector is also among the products that offer maximum life protection with payment terms that are flexible to suit your needs while letting wealth grow faster with a greater portion of premiums invested in chosen funds. On the other hand, the PRULink Assurance Account Plus is a great fit for people who want a bigger and more comprehensive protection package at a lesser cost, while allowing continuous payment with a portion of your premium investable in your chosen fund.


Filipinos who want life protection coverage and start investing at any time and can afford to pay once may want to avail the PRULink Investor Account Plus and PRUMillionaire.


Apart from having life protection and investment for ourselves and our loved ones, below are also some money lessons that we can learn during the pandemic:


Track Your Expenses and Save

Budgeting is important. Start looking at your income and expenses. There are mobile apps that track spending and manage accounts, making this step much easier. While most people are staying at home because of lockdown and other restrictions, it is the best time to find small ways to save, such as canceling unnecessary subscriptions, refraining from buying fancy or unnecessary things, and making bigger shifts, such as moving in with family members to save money on rent and shared utilities.


Take Advantage of all the Financial Relief Programs

If you’re able to receive financial aid from the government or other institutions during the pandemic, it’s smart to take that opportunity. Use that money to spend on the most important things you need daily, like food. You can also set a portion of it for your electricity and housing rental because there are businesses who are giving their consumers payment extensions.



The Best Time to Invest is Now.

Many surveys and studies show that the earlier you invest, the better. A little amount of money invested now will put more money in your pocket in the future. If you can stay disciplined, you will reach your goals. You can maximize this in the long run just by starting now and staying on track. If you need assistance, consider hiring a financial advisor and do research on which company you may invest in.


The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many people to be concerned not just about their financial security but also their health protection. Getting life protection and investment in one, can be one of the smartest things that a person can do during this time. Having health, life protection, and money growth means you can prepare for most of the hospital expenses and for anything that may happen in the future such as illness, retirement, or even death, while still growing your wealth as you achieve your life goals.


To learn more about Pru Life UK’s Insuravest products visit




  1. Why an Emergency Fund Is More Important Than Ever [Internet]. Investopedia. 2021 [cited 30 September 2021]. Available from:
  2. Managing your money during and after coronavirus [Internet]. American Psychological Association. 2020 [cited 2 September 2021]. Available from:
  3. How Life Insurance Shopping Has Changed During The Pandemic [Internet]. Forbes. 2020 [cited 9 August 2020]. Available from
  4. The value of insurance during a crisis [Internet]. BusinessWorld Online. 2021 [cited 17 May 2021]. Available from


Friday, January 7, 2022

Non-COVID-19 Patients Starting to Adapt to the New Normal


Almost two years into the pandemic, non-COVID patients have started adapting to the new normal in terms of seeking medical attention and healthcare.

This was one of the highlights of the recently held webinar titled “Kumusta Dok: Patibayin and Patient-Doctor Connection sa New Normal.”

Kumusta Dok is an initiative that aims to empower patients to reconnect with their doctors during the new normal. It helps increase awareness in identifying risk factors, signs and symptoms of some of the top causes of death among Filipinos including heart disease, cancer, stroke, pneumonia, and diabetes.

“Ang ating healthcare system ay mas nabigyan ng pansin ang COVID-19 outbreak,” noted webinar resource speaker Nelia Medina, board member of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO). “Dahil dito, ang mga annual at routine checkups ay kailangan limitahan o ipagpaliban upang maiwasan ang exposure sa virus,”

But, Medina added, patients of these life-threatening diseases have had a change in their healthcare-seeking behavior. Aware that traditional face-to-face is not always possible, patients are now more open to teleconsultation, which has become the best alternative for hospitals and doctors to examine non-COVID-19 patients.

She believes this will be a permanent fixture in healthcare moving forward. “I think ang paggamit ng digital technology ay magiging regular na kasangkapan sa patient care.”

Streamed live on the Facebook pages of Mercury Drug, Philippine Star and PAPO, the Kumusta Dok event also featured Dr. Juan Maria Ibarra Co, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC).

According to Co, after over a year into the pandemic, and gaining a better understanding of COVID-19, hospitals and laboratories have developed ways to keep patients and staff safe from the virus.

"Dahil may mga paraan na para gumana ng maayos ang mga hospitals at healthcare facilities sa panahon ng COVID-19, hindi tayo dapat matakot magpa-check-up. Hindi tayo dapat matakot bumalik sa ating doktor para ma-check ang blood sugar, blood pressure o cholesterol natin," Dr. Co said.

Most of the country’s hospitals have round-the-clock safety checks, contact tracing measures, and alcohol dispensers placed in strategic locations. They even assign a separate room for COVID-19 patients or those experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Dr. Co also stressed the importance of not neglecting non-COVID-19 illnesses. He said, “Kung pababayaan natin ang mga sakit tulad ng heart disease, cancer, diabetes, at COPD dahil natatakot lang tayo sa COVID-19, they will only get worse. May mga paraan naman para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng virus."

With regard to PAPO, they help non-COVID-19 patients develop the right health-seeking behavior by continuously organizing webinars during the pandemic. “Kami ay naniniwala na ang health literacy at patient empowerment ay malaking tulong para higit ma-pangalagaan ng pasyente ang kanilang sarili,” Medina said.

The Kumusta Dok Patient Summit may be viewed through this link on the Mercury Drug Corporation Facebook page.

The Kumusta Dok initiative also gives tips and updates on the channels available for patients to strengthen partnership with doctors throughout the health seeking journey. It shares efforts being done by healthcare facilities to ensure safety of patients and healthcare staff while delivering appropriate care.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

In This Time of COVID, Your Kapitbahay Pharmacy Is Here to Help

We are, sadly, in the midst of another COVID-19 surge, ostensibly due to the highly contagious Omicron variant entering the country to end 2021. Already, cases have risen from 100–300 daily last December to over 3,000 most days this January.  This dire development has prompted the government to shift Metro Manila and nearby provinces from the more lenient Alert Level 1 back to more stringent Alert Level 3—and, potentially, to the strictest Alert Level 5 if infections continue rising exponentially.

This only means one thing: Our movement will once again be limited, with minors and the unvaccinated now barred from going out unless absolutely necessary and the greater majority encouraged to just stay at home where possible. And if we all want to finally beat COVID, like we seem to be doing just a month ago, it would be best to follow stay-at-home recommendations as much as possible and keep observing safety protocols, like proper wearing of facemask, constant handwashing, avoiding large crowds, and putting off parties and gatherings for another time.

Actually, we ought to be proactive in doing these things even without the government telling us to do so. While we’re at it, we’ll need to do the following to keep ourselves in the pink of health and more than able to fight off any virus:

  • Eat the right kind of food for better overall  health 

  • Exercise regularly to enhance cardiovascular functions

  • Take vitamins and supplements for additional immunity

  • Get enough sleep for proper and adequate cell repair

  • Consistent self-care, including meditation, skin-care regimens, and taking up a hobby 

  • Constant sanitation and washing of hands

These are the things we should all be doing if we want to be a COVID-free country, or at least close to COVID-free so that we can either get back a sense of normalcy or enter a safer new normal. With that being said, rest assured that MyPharma, your kapitbahay pharmacy, is here to help you out in any way possible.

Mainly, trust us at MyPharma to provide the medicines and supplements you need in these uncertain, unsafe times—without you having to go out and potentially exposing yourself to harmful viruses and bacteria and then falling ill thereafter. With MyPharma, all you have to do is go online, find and order what you need, and wait for it to be delivered to your doorstep, whether it is an over-the-counter drug like ibuprofen or ambroxol or supplements such as ascorbic acid and multivitamins. The traditional delivery fee is even waived for purchases Php.1,499.00 and up, with the items delivered in only a few days.

MyPharma also offers pain relief items like efficascent oil, self-care products as well as baby needs ranging from milk formula, to bath soaps, and nasal aspirators. Your kapitbahay pharmacy even has female hygiene products, including feminine wash, body cleansers, and pads. And just like meds and supplements, you can order all these online and they will be delivered to your home.  

These are no doubt difficult times for all of us, with the potential of going from bad to worse if we aren’t careful. But if we stay vigilant and work together as one people, we can fight this surge off and defeat COVID once and for all. It might take a few more months, but best believe that will happen. Trust, too, that MyPharma will be here to help now and always—with or without COVID!

Visit now for your over-the-countetr, vitamins and supplement needs!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Filipino Bloggers Network (FBN) 10th Annual Christmas Party: A fun-filled and meaningful day

The Filipino Bloggers Network (FBN), one of the most active Philippine-Based community of bloggers and influencers in the country, held its 10th Annual Christmas Party virtually last December 12.

FBN currently has almost 2,000 members around the country and continues to expand as it provides a venue for Filipino bloggers to interact with other members even those based overseas. Moderating the discussions and posting opportunities from several brands are co-admins Divine RC and Richard Mamuyac and Lariza Garcia.

The yearly event serves as a venue to reacquaint with fellow members around the country, celebrate the holiday season and create great new memories.

Just like last year, the gathering was conducted online and livestreamed within the official FBN group page. Aside from the exciting prizes given away during the games and raffle draws, a couple of members received financial assistance to support them in their family medical emergency. Indeed, it was both a fun-filled and meaningful day at the same time.

Different PR groups and brands and individual sponsors were acknowledged during the event for supporting the online community in 2021 and hopefully for more years to come.

This year’s virtual event sponsors are Pro-Solutions, Cebuana Llhuillier, Glorious Blend, Salgado PR, i55 Talent House, Rex Education, Gur Lavi Corporation (Telavi); CAT PR, Goodah!, Pacific Sunrise, M2.0 Communications, ROAR Agile, GPS TV, BIOCOCO, Rep. Eric Yap, Rep. Ronnie Ong, Rep. Mike Defensor, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, and a number of generous FBN members.

With the great support and opportunities that FBN received this year from partners companies and brands, the group is looking forward to more campaigns and activities that members can join and engage with in the coming new year.

Let us claim that 2022 will be a better year for all of us. Cheers for more success and blessings!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Feast Ideas That You'll Love

There are two traditional feasts that Filipino families often look forward to during Christmastime: the Christmas Eve Noche Buena and the one that follows on the 25th itself, which is often held as part of a festive family reunion. Either way, expect those in charge of preparing the dishes to pull out all the stops to serve the most delectable food on the table for everyone to enjoy. 

And if that happens to be you, chances are high that you already have some recipes in mind to make each of these feasts a gastronomic delight to remember. They might even be all-time family favorites, or even hand-me-downs from your great-great grandparents. Having said that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to learn a few more recipes just to keep things fresh and put something different on the table for Christmas. Two that are guaranteed to make you look like Master Chef are Meatballs in Black Truffle Sauce and Three-Cheese Truffle Macaroni and Cheese.

The recipes are as follows:

Meatballs in Black Truffle Sauce

Meatballs in Black Truffle Sauce


• 2 slices white bread crusts removed, broken into pieces

• scant 2/3 cup whole milk

• 2 1/4 cups finely minced ground beef (or a mixture of meats, such as pork, chicken or turkey)

• 1/2 cup meat pâté

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Plain all-purpose flour, for dusting

• Olive oil for frying


• 1 tablespoon + 2 tsp butter

• A drizzle of olive oil

• 1 bunch spring onions scallions, finely chopped

• 1 carrot finely chopped

• 1 heaped cup button or oyster mushrooms finely chopped

• 3 1/2 tablespoon plain all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup white wine

• 2 cups beef chicken or vegetable stock

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary

• 1/2 cup double heavy cream

• 1/2 teaspoon Umbria Black Truffle Sauce


1. Place the bread in a bowl and pour over the milk. Set aside to soak.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together the meat and the pâté. Add the soaked bread and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix until smooth and well combined. Form meatballs by rolling walnut-sized pieces of the mixture between your hands. They should be about 1oz each. Dust the meatballs in flour.

3. Heat some oil in a shallow pan over a medium-high heat and fry the meatballs just until they are golden. Do not overcook at this stage as we are going to finish them in the sauce. Set aside.

4. To make the sauce, heat the butter and olive oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and add the finely chopped spring onions, carrot and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is transparent. Reduce the temperature to low and add the flour to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook for about 4 minutes and then add the wine, continuing to stir until you get a paste and the alcohol has evaporated, then add the stock with the salt and rosemary. Keep stirring and cooking until the sauce thickens, then add the cream, stirring so that the mixture doesn’t split or curdle. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes.

5. Put Umbria Black Truffle Sauce into the sauce, mix and fold and serve hot.

Three-Cheese Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

Three-Cheese Truffle Macaroni and Cheese


1 tablespoon butter, divided

1 cup mushroom (75 g), sliced

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk (240 mL)

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (110 g)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (100 g)

2 cups shell pasta (400 g), cooked


½ teaspoon Umbria truffle oil

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped


1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are softened. Remove from the pot.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour to the pot. Whisk until the flour is toasted, approximately 2 minutes.

3. Add the milk while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Cook until the sauce is thickened.

4. Whisk in the Parmesan and cheddar cheeses and season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the cooked pasta and mushrooms. Mix until the sauce coats the pasta well.

6. Top with Umbria truffle oil, fold and add chives.

Of course, it’s understandable that you’d stop at nothing to make these year’s Christmas celebrations as grand as possible. After all, last year’s Holidays were mostly muted due to the pandemic. Now, the scourge that is COVID-19 is still here, but the country is showing signs of recovery and the quarantine restrictions are easing as a result. 

However, that doesn’t mean you and your family should be letting your guard down. Rather, continue to be vigilant even as you think of ways to gather everyone this Christmastime—ideally, sharing some sumptuous Meatballs in Umbria Black Truffle Sauce and servings of mouthwatering Three-Cheese Umbria White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese!